Are you still typing or writing the date stamp, “2020,” on everything? I certainly am. By the time that I get 2020 out of my head, we’ll be ringing in 2022 …
With every new year comes the promise of something better, something different. Most of us set ourselves on a path filled with resolutions knowing full well that fewer than 10% of us will make it to the end of the month. But we’ll have tried, right?!
This week’s article is about doing more than trying. It’s about WINNING. That’s right. Setting off on the right foot to begin the year. In fact, let’s start the year running. Hit it hard from Day 1 and go after whatever it is that we didn’t accomplish in 2020. Maybe the pandemic thwarted your plans. Or maybe you just didn’t get it done.
Leave the excuses behind and kick them to the curb with the year 2020. Start fresh knowing that you can achieve your goals by working at them a little each day. We’ve all heard that silly and rather garish expression, “You can eat an elephant. You just have to eat it one bite at a time.” Although that saying may be a tad offside, its message is powerful. You CAN do it – you just have to want to and you need a plan.
Most of the Kromakers that we interact with are solopreneurs, consultants, founders, and giggers. Each of you is building something; whether it’s your own startup, practice or a secret plan for world domination. And that’s where we come in with our tools and assets that are designed to help you build your business and do your job.
Another saying that comes to mind is, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” Although this saying less visual than someone sitting alongside an elephant consuming it (gasp!), it’s equally powerful. If you don’t hunt for the business, you won’t win it. Sitting at home with your laptop, on your kitchen table or your desk or your couch, surfing online and making occasional posts on social media (as good as we’re sure that they are), is not how you’re going to win any deals.
You must get out there, squeak, make it known that you’re hungry for work and that you’re the best at what you do. Convince your prospective buyers that you can get it done better than anyone else. How, do you ask? Let’s talk through a few tips to prospect and then how to win sales contract bids.
Hit the new year running with these sales tips
5 tips to win deals
There’s no guarantee that you’ll win the deal, but if you go into each deal with that mindset, you’ll NEVER win! Anything is possible. And, as it is for most things in life, it’s a numbers game. If you swipe right enough times, you’ll find someone that you click with. Although dating apps seem like a bit of a stretch from sales prospecting, they have more in common than you think.
It’s all about how you put yourself out there. What do you project and how do others perceive you? You want to ensure that you’ve got your “best self” facing outwards to your prospective clients. If you’re in a business that expects professional attire, put on that damn tie or scarf and blazer. Pairing it with yoga pants is fine as we all know it’s a zoom kinda world and nobody will be the wiser – but you MUST wear pants!
#1: Prospect, prospect, prospect
Yup, it’s a little repetitive like that line that’s famous in real estate, “location, location, location,” but it might even be more important. The world’s top salespeople spend time every morning – early (for whatever reason, salespeople tend to be morning people) – and begin their day by prospecting. Whether you set a timer to prospect for one hour or not is up to you but start your day by looking for work. After you make your bed, of course! Always start your day by making your bed and poof, just like that, you’ll have accomplished your first task of the day.
#2: Where do your prospects hang out?
If you’re hunting for a J-O-B, then go the platforms and sites that post the kind of jobs that you’re looking for. Linkedin, Indeed, ZipRecruiter and so many others exist but for one reason – to list available jobs. If you’re a solopreneur, spend time figuring out where your prospects go to get their information. What are their daily or regular routines? Perhaps they’re active in trade associations, Linkedin or Facebook Groups, or maybe they read a daily or weekly e-Newsletter specific to your industry. Wherever they are, go to them.
Learn about them, what they do, what they read, and what problems people like them are commonly experiencing. Without a clear pain point, people aren’t going to open their wallets to fix it. Dig into what’s trending in your industry, what’s different and where the gaps are. All this research will help you gain a better understanding of the prospect’s need and help you craft a more informed pitch that has a higher chance of resonating with your intended target.
#3: Reach out
Put yourself out there. Cold calls are, indeed, soul-killing, but cold email outreaches are somehow slightly less painful. Find a reason for the outreach and note that “checking in” or “following up” emails are headed to the trash folder with about 99% certainty. Construct a well-crafted but simple email: no high-fallutin’ jargon or nonsense. And keep it short; use seven words or less in the subject (since 2/3 of recipients will read it on their mobile phone versus desktop) and no more than 250 words in the body of the message. Design it to be understood by a fifth grader and you’ll be good to go.
Use Linkedin to connect with prospects and be sure to use the “Add Note” feature after you request a connection so that you can explain why it’s important that you become Linkedin buddies. When your invitation to connect is accepted, don’t bombard that person with a canned pitch. Build a relationship. Let it breathe with a bit of relevant back & forth. Maybe you share a link on some important development or other bit of news in your industry or you share a helpful “tips” article. In so doing, you’re establishing yourself as a trusted advisor instead of getting labeled – and then shut out – as a pushy salesperson.
#4: Design a customer journey
Salespeople tend to look at marketing people like they have two heads when marketers start waxing on about “customer journeys.” Salespeople are all about, “Just get me leads.” But thinking about that customer journey is important. Even if you simply sketch it out on a post-it note, you’ll be further along than most of your competitors.
Think of the flow. A lead (a prospect) may enter your workflow as a result of direct advertising, an inquiry on your website or, if Irish luck is smiling down on you – a referral. Of course, given the tips above, YOU may have generated that lead yourself through cold and direct outreach. Tracking how each lead comes into your funnel or sales cycle is important so that you can dial up efforts around that modality, but, for now, however they come in, they’re in. Now what?
Once they’re in your flow, do you have a 1-pager product offer? Perhaps you have a whitepaper or other technical paper that talks about the problems faced by the industry and how they’re being solved. Don’t freak – it doesn’t need to be an elaborate 20-page document – it can be as simple as 2-3 pages expertly crafted and substantiated with references. Then what? Is it another email? At which point in your flow do you request a call or a meeting? Do you have a deck ready?
Spend some time mapping out each stage of the journey and which marketing material(s) goes with each stage. Once you’ve gone through the flow, you’ll be ready to use our Kroma Infographic Service Proposal template, all gussied up in your colors with your brand, to show them that you’re a professional and that you want their business. Good thing that you’re here – we’ve got you covered with more than a million creative assets, data visualizations, infographics and professional presentation templates.
#5 Don’t forget to say thank you
Those two little words may be even more powerful than the elephant or squeaky wheel sayings. Whatever happens, even if you lose the deal, thank your prospect for their time and consideration and tell them what you learned from the experience. It’s a small world and reputations matter. Besides, who knows? That prospect may not have wanted to buy what you’re selling today, but things could be different a few months or even a year from now. Remember, it’s a numbers game!
Cheers to 2021. A new year filled with new opportunities and new prospects. Hit the ground running and go get ‘em!